Pronunciation Noun


  1. (now usually in the plural, pluralonly) Sanity.
    He's gone completely out of his wits.
  2. (obsolete usually in the plural) The senses.
  3. Intellectual ability; faculty of thinking, reasoning.
    Where she has gone to is beyond the wit of man to say.
  4. The ability to think quickly; mental cleverness, especially under short time constraints.
    My father had a quick wit and a steady hand.
  5. Intelligence; common sense.
    The opportunity was right in front of you, and you didn't even have the wit to take it!
    • 1460-1500, The Towneley Playsː
      I give the wit, I give the strength, of all thou seest, of breadth and length; thou shalt be wonder-wise, mirth and joy to have at will, all thy liking to fulfill, and dwell in paradise.
    • 1609, William Shakespeare, ''Sonnet 23:
      O, learn to read what silent love hath writ:
      To hear with eyes belongs to love's fine wit.
  6. Humour, especially when clever or quick.
    The best man's speech was hilarious, full of wit and charm.
    • 1991, Stephen Fry, The Liar, p. 37:
      ...the cemetery—which people of shattering wit like Sampson never tired of calling ‘the dead centre of town’...
  7. A person who tells funny anecdotes or jokes; someone witty.
    Your friend is quite a wit, isn't he?
    • 1601, Ben Jonson, Poetaster or The Arraignment: […], London: Printed [by R. Bradock] for M[atthew] L[ownes] […], published 1602, OCLC 316392309 ↗, Act III, scene iv ↗:
      Tuc[ca]. […] Can thy Author doe it impudently enough? / Hiſt[rio]. O, I warrant you, Captaine: and ſpitefully inough too; he ha's one of the moſt ouerflowing villanous wits, in Rome. He will ſlander any man that breathes; If he diſguſt him. / Tucca. I'le know the poor, egregious, nitty Raſcall; and he haue ſuch commendable Qualities, I'le cheriſh him: {{...}
Synonyms Translations
  • Italian: senno
  • Portuguese: mentalidade, sanidade
  • Russian: ра́зум
  • Spanish: mentalidad, cordura
Translations Translations Translations Translations Verb
  1. (ambitransitive, chiefly, archaic) Know, be aware of (constructed with of when used intransitively).
    You committed terrible actions — to wit, murder and theft — and should be punished accordingly.
    They are meddling in matters that men should not wit of.
    • 1611, King James Version, Exodus 2:3–4:
      And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink. And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him.
    • 1849, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, St. Luke the Painter, lines 5–8
      but soon having wist
      How sky-breadth and field-silence and this day
      Are symbols also in some deeper way,
      She looked through these to God and was God’s priest.
Infinitive to wit
Imperative wit
Present participle witting
Past participle wist
Present indicative Past indicative
First-person singular I wot I wist
Second-person singularwottest>wot(test) (archaic)archaic> thou wist(est) (archaic)
Third-person singular he/she/it wot he/she/it wist
First-person plural we wit(e) we wist
Second-person pluralarchaic> ye wit(e) (archaic)archaic> ye wist (archaic)
Third-person plural they wit(e) they wist
Translations Pronunciation
  • (Southern American English) (before consonants) IPA: /wɪt/, (before yod) /wɪtʃ/
  1. (Southern American English) Pronunciation spelling of with#English|with.


wit (plural wits)

  1. (hunting, AU) Initialism of waterfowl identification test

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